Table of Contents
World demand to rise 6% annually through 2018
Worldwide demand for natural and synthetic graphite (including carbon fiber) is forecast to expand six percent per annum to about 3.9 million metric tons in 2018, an improvement over the 2008-2013 pace. Three key trends will fuel growth. First, advances in manufactured goods shipments are expected to spur graphite consumption. Second, steelmaking and other types of metallurgy activity, important markets for graphite, are expected to accelerate between 2013 and 2018. Third, the global graphite market will benefit greatly from the rise of new, technologically advanced applications, including graphene, pebble-bed nuclear reactors, fuel cells, solar power, and aerospace.
Natural flake graphite to outpace amorphous types
In the natural graphite segment, flake graphite will continue to capture market share from amorphous graphite, as hightech applications become more important and the availability of flake graphite increases. Through 2018, worldwide demand for flake graphite is expected to grow more than twice as fast as for amorphous products. When China reduced natural graphite output between 2011 and 2013 because of concerns about the environment and industry fragmentation, a large number of exploration projects were launched around the world. Approximately 30 companies are now working on developing new mines in countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, and the US. Finally, interest in natural graphite has increased dramatically with the rise of lithium ion batteries, which are used in electronics and electric motor vehicles. The synthetic graphite market will also see healthy gains during the 2013-2018 period. Worldwide demand for carbon fiber is expected to grow at a double-digit annual pace through 2018, as its use in aerospace, automotive, wind turbine, and other applications increases sharply. Additionally, the cost of carbon fiber is expected to gradually decline between 2013 and 2018 because of technological innovation. The growing use of electric arc furnaces to produce steel in most parts of the world is expected to boost sales of graphite electrodes. As synthetic graphite becomes more widely available in industrializing countries, product demand will grow. However, increasing production capacity will moderate prices.
China to remain key market
Roughly 45 percent of all additional graphite demand generated between 2013 and 2018 will be attributable to China alone, the world’s leading consumer of these products. Growth will be bolstered by massive gains in manufactured goods shipments, increases in metallurgy activity, and additional investment in technologically advanced industries. Other industrializing countries in the Asia/Pacific region are also expected to perform well between 2013 and 2018, as their manufacturing sectors expand and grow in sophistication. Additionally, the availability of graphite products in Asia/ Pacific countries will increase. Graphite consumption in North America is forecast to expand nearly six percent per annum between 2013 and 2018, a significant improvement over the 2008- 2013 pace. The US will register the region’s fastest growth, as industrial production increases, metallurgy activity rebounds, and lithium ion battery output surges. Led by Brazil, Central and South America is projected to see sales of graphite increase at the second fastest annual rate worldwide through 2018.
This upcoming industry study, World Graphite: Natural, Synthetic & Carbon Fiber, presents historical demand data plus forecasts (2018, 2023) by graphite type, market, world region, and for 16 countries. The study also examines mining and exploration activity, analyzes potential applications, evaluates company market share and profiles 52 global competitors.
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